13 Jan

(The State Journal) – A West Virginia University researcher is saying state precautions are prudent in light of a declared state emergency following a chemical spill affecting water in southern West Virginia.

The counties of Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam and Roane are being advised to use tap water only to flush toilets.

The chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, is used as a foaming agent to separate coal from rock in washing plants, said Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute.

He said that the chemical, which has a molecule of alcohol in its chemical composition, is soluble in water. Its main effect on humans would be that of an irritant to the eyes, skin and lungs.

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